I am having a bad day. And strangely it has nothing to do with the disease. I am having a normal bad day; bank account looking scary, child forgot book bag, boss on my ass. Such normal sucky things, that I find for the most kind of reassuring. It means that my act, my desire to appear normal may be working.
I know intellectually that people with bi-polar disease have bad days; and the days that are disappointing or stressful don’t have to do with how much medicine I am taking or where on the rainbow scale my feelings are. They are just the products of life. The effects of the causes.
But there is a sort of harmony in what I imagine is the normal. I am not normal; but to have a day that I can share with a sister without worrying about the consequences is unique in my world. The tough day I am having is so normal that it actually doesn’t upset me. There are times I crave normal, I crave a life without medicine and darkness; I crave the very thing that would make others sweat.
Normal isn’t a word I get to use very often. In fact, I have gotten so use to the question asked of me, “What is normal?” that I resent it as some sort of trap. I will never be a soccer mom or a Girl Scout Troop leader (mostly because I have no desire to be those things). I will never not need medication, or hate the fact that I have to live with it. I will never know if tomorrow I am going to be high or low, although there is no doubt that I will be one or the other, since I can’t be that normal.
When I was young(er) all I wanted was normal. And all I got was that stupid question. But these days I think of normal as this: waking up with the alarm, going about my day with a little anger, a little happiness, some joy; then going home to my child, cooking dinner, taking care of the myriad chores that always pile up. These are the things I crave. Instead my day either starts out with me popping out of bed, or hitting the snooze five times; I am either happy to be at work or wish I didn’t actually have to speak and could pretend to have laryngitis, getting home and either falling so deep in a book to escape my abnormal life, or just heading to bed.
There is no consistency in my life, which is frustrating. There is no magic in my life, which is disappointing. There is no freedom in my life, which is simply wrong. My life and all my actions are dictated to an extent that one can point to the exact cause for any of my effects. Was it the medicine, was it the lack of space, was it the forced interaction of people?
I spoke in my last post about not wanting to take my meds. I confess, even when I take them I don’t want to. Or when I look at that full bottle I wonder if I should just take them all. There is a desire to go from one extreme to the other, and that desire is felt together. Sink or swim, soar or fall, live or die. That is my normal.
I have this fantasy in my head about what my normal could be. If I simply stopped taking those cursed drugs, I have an exact picture of what it could be. It could be my normal; periods of true darkness, followed by those amazing rays of light. Sadness followed by depression, followed by a strange floating feeling, followed by ecstasy; or vice versa. It could be seeing a beautiful sunset and being able to pick out the colors, it could be feeling the wind in my hair and knowing it is more than just my imagination. It could be soaring within the stories I have buried in my heart, and the evil that I know as intimately as I know my child.
It could be so much real, than the reality I am forced to love. It could be my own slice of that traveling carnival.
Elizabeth E George said:
Thank you for this post. Many members of my family have either bi-polar or depression. It’s not easy for them or for me. But, to me, normal is just a setting on a washing machine. (I saw that on a sign once, and loved it.) I really would like someone to define normal for me, and not have it sound so much like average. (Average is more of numerical thing than it is a definition.) And so what? My dad isn’t normal. But, I look up to him and his strength more than almost anyone. It takes a lot to share this kind of stuff. I appreciate it. Thanks again.
Thank you for your kind words. It helps when writing these sometimes deeply personal perspectives to know that it might just make if not someone feel better, at least think. And I love that washing machine saying. It made me smile, and I was not having much to smile about today.
Nice post, very well written. I am bipolar too, and I hate the restictions that it put’s on my life. You can’t go without the meds, so you take them. Then it dawns on you one day that you can’t live without them. Some days I would like to be free of those restictions, to get out of bed at the same time each day, and to not feel the pain of association. However we are trapped in our own private prisions, and no one holds the key.
I hope that one day you do find a key, even if that key only works for one day. If you ever figure out how to live without the prison bars of this disease, don’t forget the rest of us still trapped. Until then, we live the best we can until something truer comes along. Thank you for your comments.
Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.
I am honored. Thank you.
Reblogged this on KNOWLEDGE MUST SHARE.
Thank you for sharing your thought provoking writing. I wish you peace and all the best in your journey – and I look forward to reading more of your insightful posts. Congrats on being FP!
Thank you for your words. The response has been overwhelming to this post and others. I didn’t go into this for any other reason but to try and find an outlet for myself. But having learned over the last months the power of words, I am realizing that maybe, just maybe I can help one other; and then, maybe those abnormal days will be worth it.
Conforming to the majority’s idea of normal is the biggest hurdle of all. And I don’t want to do it anymore. I am currently in hibernation (complete with bedding and big fat cheeks) but the time is fast approaching where I will have to interact with the world in order to earn a crust. I will report back and let you know how that goes :-s
Interacting with the world is neither easy nor altogether worth the pain we have to injest. However, I recognize that it is important, and it is vital. Hiding, despite what our doctors say, is not always a bad thing. Hiding when someone is depending on us, maybe. Hiding without regard, maybe. Understand that you are hiding, understand what you are doing and potentially who you are doing it to. Don’t, in your need to find a hiding place, forget that the world is still there, waiting patiently. Come up, stick your head out of those covers, and look around. And then, if there is something waiting for you with the love and compassion you need, try hiding in their arms for a little while. Keep me posted.
Thank you for your kind words. Loving and compassionate arms would be lovely, but hard to find and equally hard to trust.
I have however found blogging more helpful than anticipated; even if no one reads my entries, I am offloading so better out than in. Plus I have made resolutions on here and will look like a total weakling if I don’t at least try and achieve some of them.
I know that where I am is entirely down to me as is my evolution, it’s just so hard to get started sometimes especially when it seems that the world is doing just fine without you. Would gladly abandon it if Dr Who showed up 😉
I’d be thrilled if you followed my blog and we can keep each other up to date and our heads above water.
I’m trying to ban the word normal from my vocabulary – it doesn’t serve any purpose anymore except to main me chase the unreal and unobtainable. I think it’s great to look on your day as a ‘regular’ bad day, something experienced by many people. I can’t explain it very well, but when I have a day like that I’m almost pleased – it reminds me that I can do everything to try and avoid a bad day, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. At least, however, I am trying.
I think the fact that you are trying, that you aren’t ready to give it up is as important as being normal. We all need moments of normalcy, the trick is finding them. I struggle with this, especially when the world often looks like the pit of darkness that I just got out of. It’s hard to find regular days, it is one of the reasons I wrote the post – it was so normal that I simply had to say something. You are correct in bad days sometimes just happen, you can’t avoid them and maybe we shouldn’t want to. I however, do believe in the power of chocoalate, a child’s smile, and the unbelievable relief of my own pillow. Thank you for writing to me.
I’m sure it must take a lot of courage just to get up and face the day sometimes. I hope that you will be able to experience more magic – at least times of hope and gratitude. Congrats on your FP!
Thank you for your comment. There are days courage is needed, and sadly not found. But I always try to remember that at least the sun only stays up for a very brief time each day. And while starting over doesn’t often give me comfort, the fact that I can get rest and sleep through some of it helps as well.
You can only be disappointed if you hold expectations. My only expectation is of myself and that I will arise each day. I struggled with not being normal for years, now I embrace it. It is me and some days are better than others. Granted thousands of dollars have gone into my mental health and 5o years on the planet have helped put it into perspective. The kids have grown and life is a little slower. Just a little.
Magic is found in the little places, the flutter of a bird, the mischievous smile hiding the crumbs of the stolen cookie of the precocious 4 year old. It can be found if you know how to look.
Me, I am ADHD, OCD, PTSD, depressed (only mildly now – the meds were good and bad when the depression was black) and I have forged ahead of my lifelong learning disability diagnosed as alternative audio dysfunction. They had not seen it before so this is the label I get.
I am not bipolar and my meds now consist of a tad of THC and a steady steam of caffeine with liberal doses of Mozart and Bach. I watch what I eat and drink – keeping it natural in many ways.
Normal was an illusion I was not blessed with. I wish you well in your journey and thank you for sharing this bit of the road.
Thank you for your comment; it made me smile. As a mother of a five and a three year old I am well acquainted with that smile. I have used Mozart as medicine many times, and often wonder if he himself felt the same beauty composing those symphonies as I find in falling into them. I am partial to sweeping orchestras that take me on a journey my somewhat fertile mind often, and I mean often, drags me through. I wish you luck with the THC, steady stream of caffeine and your liberal doses of the Masters.
Thank you. I wonder too about the composers and their ability to take us to these wonderful places. I find the symphonies in full are too much and I would then get no work done as I use the music to work by. It works for me. I hope that you can find the magic in the everyday as it is where it hides best.
Indeed Freshly Pressed ! 🙂
Hi- I just found you on freshly pressed. Looking forward to reading more. Thank you for your honestly and your vulnerability. I can really see in your post that you are in pain today. I’ve recently been reading so much on the mind – neuro-psyche, trying to gain a better grasp the mind and all of the various aspects that leave us feeling victimized at times by it’s betrayal. I can relate- and although I do not have bi-polar, I was misdiagnosed with it years ago. The real issue was adhd and as a woman I went untreated. I am now 42 and finally experiencing some relief. The “Gift” of ADHD has had much to teach me – and I’m trying to heal from a lifetime of mis-understandings- about myself ( my mind) and the world. I’d love to know what a “good day” looks like for you- and can see just from this post that there is also a lot of good… the difficulty- I get, is getting there more often then the maddening hi’s and lows. Keep writing- you do it so beautifully.
Thank you for your comment. I have found that many people, women especially, can relate to blogs about mental disease without ever being diagnosed with it. I often wonder if that is because the brain, while complex and mysterious, has certain chemical combinations that create similar reactions. I am fascinated with the brain, an organ that can completely heal itself, and somehow functions on such a low energy level. What else is in this world; what else could we see if we had more than 10% of our brian working? Good luck on your researching, and I am always open to knew thoughts about the mysterious and wonderous weight that resides on my shoulders.
Beyond Back Creek said:
Beautiful and honest. Your writing is the magic, perhaps? As someone who is not bipolar, but has lived with family that is…consider that we can all assume that another’s life, day, family…is better, more ordered, more consistent, more successful, more fun, more beautiful. We can only imagine what other people really feel like inside, and vocabulary gets in the way. But in the end, the value of what we are given is in what we make of it. You are Creating Magic here. I know that’s small comfort when you are hurting, though.
I don’t believe there is such thing as a small comfort. Comfort, especially a stranger’s words, can absolutely go far. Thank you for your remark.
dear truthache, reading your blog has left me speechless…don’t know where to start of what touched me more….am trying to understand and embrace your words in their entirety….thank you for sharing with so much sincerity…you’ve touched my soul…god bless!!
I am so glad that you like it. Some days it is tough to write, but at the same time it is an amazing experience, and these last couple of months have been an amazing journey. I think I have learned more about myself than I ever knew was possible. Thank you for your wonderful words.
look forward to more such sharings!!!
I love your closing sentence. It wraps up your intriguing post perfectly.
I appreciate your words. Thank you.
wow ! I was truly touched by your honesty and your perspective in life . I am going to say something to you , something you probably already heard , “you are as normal or even more normal than many people I know , including myself. We all have bad days , but the fact that you recognized it and are able to cope the best you can , in itself is priceless. You show courage in the face of mental illness and that is something you should be very proud and I salute you and wish you well from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you. Such inadequate words for something that means so much. I think, no matter if you have a disease or not, coping is about all one can expect in this world. Some cope by becoming rich and famous, some by simply hunkering down and finding their own way. I have learned quickly that all journies are precious, and it fascinates me how each of us walk day to day. Again, thank you.
You have a beautiful gift for writing, and I hope that you will continue to allow your personal experiences to provide the positive byproduct that is your inspiration. My life used to be dominated by the impulses my ADHD led me to act out, and the prospect of this “normal” life you talked about seemed bleak. I too struggled back and forth with taking medication, and although my “disease” will always be a part of me as it will with you, I’ve grown to develop a new relationship with it. It is no longer just an impairment, but also acts as my creative muse, as I see it does with you, and I’m so thankful that you are sharing it with the world.
It took a long time to understand that something so devasting can in fact be beautiful. This creative muse is a journey in and of itself, and the best that I can say is that I am never, never lonely. Thank you for your words.
Seeing the struggle from your perspective was insightful. I write about this topic for clients throughout the industry, but the approach is always clinical. You just made it personal and I so appreciate your sharing.
It doesn’t matter how you write, I think, as long as you are. Words have an ability, whether they are personal or clinical to give us sometimes understanding, but maybe just maybe a different thought. And writing that gives the reader a different thought is worth its price in gold. Thank you for your words.
Jason Ministries said:
Thank you for your post; I can’t imagine what you must be experiencing. I pray that one day you will be able to be free of your meds, and enjoy that so called “normal” life you spoke of. 🙂 Blessings..
Thank you. As I can’t imagine what you, yourself is going through, I say we are equal. And isn’t that the point, realizing that underneath it all we are equal? Again, thank you for your words.
Jason Ministries said:
Certainly … you are welcome.
Being both bipolar all my life and an overworked professional who is expected to be high functioning at all times, I feel your pain. Sometimes I feel like my husband is giving up on me and my disease. Sometimes I feel my daughter will never know what it is to have a “normal” mom.
Try to remember that none of that truly matters. Your daughter doesn’t need a normal mom, she simply needs you. As for the husbands, my advice is to always be compassionate in what he may be also going through, but also understand that at the end of the day you are fighting for your life. It may seem like a normal mood swing to him but to you it is so much more. I have tried everything with my husband, therapy, talking it out, books…at the end of the day as much as it hurts to say this, our husbands either have to love us or they can’t. It is that simple. Howvever, don’t mistake frustration, anger or disappointment for fear. For my husband, the hardest part is he simply can’t make it better. He fears for my life, and sometimes for my sanity. Hang in there and thank you for your comment.
Romantic Asian Guy said:
I enjoy your lovely writing. I can relate to having feelings of sadness and depression. Not a good feeling at all, but I guess we just have to find ways to live with it. Best wishes to you:)
Thank you for your comment.
I had a sister with a serious psychiatric disease and I have had close friends with mental illness. I understand not wanting to take meds, especially due to certain side effects that are not desirable to say the least. My own view is this: we cannot control our genetic biochemistry and so medications should serve to right a genetic ‘wrong’ in a sense. I am not my genes, I am the sum of my genes and environment. My own sister seemed to thrive with a combination of meds and cognitive behavioral therapy. For a while she had an extraordinary physician who was overseeing her care.
It always amazes me what a simple thing, such as a physician or a sister (in your case) can do. Thank you for your words.
That was beautifully written. As much of a ‘pickle’ you, me, or anybody is in, we have one thing that will separates us from normal. It is our stories…
Your story shows vulnerability that constitutes a real you. There’s no touch up to this picture. Your story becomes the medicine that other’s need.
We all need a bit of ‘misfortunes’ to balance out the beauty you see in life. It allows more flavor to our very bring.
Thank you for sharing your personal story, thoroughly enjoyed it!
Thank you for your words; and you are absolutely right that in our misfortunes we can certainly find beauty. We all have bad days, but I think the first step is simply waking up and realizing it. Then writing an enjoyable post that others can relate to, and maybe get a nod of acknowledgment about. Again, thank you.
First— I loved this. You are VERY articulate.
“There is a desire to go from one extreme to the other, and that desire is felt together.”
I do not have BD (that i know of anyway, although my sis has been diagnosed with BD2), but I feel the same way as you. I want there to be magic in life. I either want to feel new things at 110% or be at -110%, completely numb and unaffected. Just to feel ALIVE and SAFE.
It’s interesting….those who feel blah in life and are not on a psychiatric medicine, CRAVE to be medicated either by legit or recreational drugs, just to feel. So don’t let your mind fool you into thinking other people are feeling more.
I try not to let my mind fool me into anything, but isn’t that part of the fascination: it absolutely can. Thank you for your words, and while you might not have “BD” doesn’t mean you aren’t human. All the emotions your sis is diagnosed with is easily felt in everyone. I figure if nothing else, it helps you take those rides with your sister, way into another world. Thank you for your wonderful words.
I was so pleased to see you Freshly Pressed after stumbling upon your voice not so long ago. My favorite sharings tend to be those whose honesty and vulnerability lend understanding and create compassion. The subject of medication and the emotions that accompany this experience for individuals with varying needs is one we cannot hide with silence. Well done.
I totally get the “no magic in life” and it IS disappointing.